Week 4, Meal 3: Huevos Rancheros

I’ve gone through many highs and lows in the kitchen in the four weeks since this blog’s inception.

I think back to night one when I spent nearly four hours getting the hang of prep work, cook times, burner sensitivity, etc. That was a frustrating day which made me question the stupidity of launching a blog where cooking nightly is mandatory.

I remember Week 3’s Chilean sea bass and the triumph I felt with each buttery bite of fish, each sweet sip of tomato. Putting together Week 4, Meal 3: Huevos Rancheros gave me that same great feeling.

It’s the first time I’ve made any Mexican dish at home that isn’t a quesadilla or doesn’t have this stuff in it. Legit Mexican at home — another notch in my kitchen’s belt.

Speaking of highs and lows, only a handful of times in these four weeks have I not wanted to cook — last night being one of them — but as always my loving wife made me put down the Call of Duty, get my ass of the couch and get to work.

And it’s always worth it in the end. Both in taste, and on my waistline.

Now let’s cook some huevos y’all.

Huevos Rancheros (Yield: 2 portions)

Ranchero sauce (for more like 4 portions)
1 tsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 pasilla pepper, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 14.5 oz-can fire roasted tomatoes (Hunt’s)
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t paprika
2 T chopped cilantro

Black beans
1 t olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 t cumin
1 14-oz. can black beans, drained
1 cup chicken stock or water

cooking spray
2 corn tortillas
2 oz. Oaxaca cheese (essentially Mexican mozzarella, not too hard to find)
1 avocado, diced
2 eggs, cooked over easy

Prep time: 30 min. Cook time: 30 min.

There’s a lot of prep work involved in this recipe so it’s good to be organized and knock it all out.

Start by slicing 1 pasilla pepper, 1 red bell pepper and 1 green bell pepper into strips. Mince 1 jalapeno pepper. (Watch: How to slice a pepper.)

Next, slice 1 yellow onion and mince 2 cloves of garlic. Separately, mince 1 more clove of garlic and 1 shallot for the black beans.

Take this time also to shred 2 oz. of Oaxacan cheese. If you’ve never had this Mexican cheese before, you’ve got nothing to be afraid of. It is creamy and has a taste and texture similar to string cheese. Great stuff, especially on squash blossom quesadillas (shout out to my homeboy Dave Lieberman of OC Weekly for that tip).

Now that prep is done, you can get ready to cook.

In my kitchen I used one burner for a medium pot and one burner for a saute pan and cooked the beans and sauce simultaneously, because they both have the same cook time. I’ll break down the preparation of each separately now:

To make the Ranchero sauce, heat 1 t of olive oil over medium-high in a large saute pan. Add onion, garlic, and all peppers (don’t accidentally throw in the garlic and shallot for the beans).

Saute for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Peppers and onions should be fairly tender. Add 1/2 t of cumin and 1/2 t of paprika and mix well. Saute 1 more minute.

Add 1 14.5-0z. can of fire-roasted tomatoes and simmer for about 10-15 minutes until sauce reduces a bit and thickens. Finish with a little salt and pepper and 2 T of cilantro. Reserve.

To make the beans, heat 1 t of olive oil in a medium pot. Add shallot and garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add 1/2 t of cumin and mix for about 30 seconds. Add 1 can of black beans, 1 cup of water or stock, and season with salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium, simmering beans for 10-15 minutes. Reserve.

Next, dice 1 avocado, best done right before heating the tortilla and cooking the egg (Watch: How to dice an avocado — worth watching for the fun fact at the end).

Spray a hot saute pan with cooking spray and add corn tortilla(s). Saute on both sides until warm and a little crispy. Place tortillas on separate plates.

Cook 2 eggs over-easy with a little cooking spray in the same pan you heated up the tortillas in. The yolkier the better in my opinion.

To plate: top tortilla with half of black beans, then shredded oaxacan cheese, then avocado, then egg. Top with 1/2 – 3/4 cup of Ranchero sauce and dig in!

This is a really clean, very flavorful dish that benefits from combination of smoky cumin, sweet onions and peppers and rich egg yolk. The Ranchero sauce is a lot less watery than what I’ve seen in Mexi restaurants but I liked this more filling, chunky version just the same, if not more because there was so much texture to it.

This recipe has a lot of steps, but it’s a killer on the plate.

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One thought on “Week 4, Meal 3: Huevos Rancheros”

  1. Beans are the bomb!

    They’re such a good protein source and i have been eating them just about every other day for a few months.

    If you buy them dry at the store, and rehydrate them at home (for a day, before cooking), they’ll have alot less sodium than the canned ones. It’s pretty effortless too.

    If you want a really yummy twist, add a little beer to the batch. mmmmmmm

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